Moist chocolate cake layers sandwiching rich Nutella ganache and covered in creamy Nutella buttercream—what’s not to love about this chocolate Nutella cake?
Are you a Nutella fan? The kind who eats it right out of the jar? Because I am.
And sometimes that leads to embarrassing situations. Case in point: after making these Nutella cupcakes I had a little leftover Nutella so I finished off the jar with a spoon.
Then I took Cookie for a walk. And after the walk it was dinner time so I headed to my powder bath/pantry annex to grab her food and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Nutella was ALL over my chin.
And I was like, seriously Cookie? You couldn’t let me know before I walk out of the house? (She was too focused on her dinner to respond.)
But my love for chocolate and hazelnut is strong enough to withstand even the greatest embarrassment. Hence this chocolate Nutella cake. It’s a dream come true for chocolate lovers!
Moist and tender chocolate cake, rich Nutella ganache, Nutella buttercream, and crunchy hazelnuts make this a cake anyone would risk embarrassment for.
Why you’ll love this chocolate Nutella cake:
- It’s straight-forward to make and uses easy-to-find ingredients that you probably already have on hand
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make it!
- The Nutella ganache filling takes this cake to new levels of deliciousness
Chocolate cake layers
This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe because it’s super soft and very chocolate-y. You’ll notice that the recipe calls for Frangelico, which is a hazelnut liqueur. If you don’t have Frangelico and don’t want to buy it, substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
The recipe also calls for coffee but you can substitute flat cola if you’re not a coffee fan, although you won’t actually taste the coffee.
Start by whisking the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, and oil, then whisk in the eggs and Frangelico (or vanilla).
Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (the mixture will be very thick). Then gradually stir in the coffee (or cola). And that’s it! Bake for about half an hour and your cake layers are done.
How to make Nutella ganache
The chocolate Nutella cake filling we’re using here isn’t technically a ganache, which is just a mixture of chocolate and heavy cream–it’s the stuff you make truffles with. Regular ganache sets up firmer than this one, but Nutella “ganache” is delicious nonetheless.
Start by putting your Nutella into a heat-proof bowl—this is a bowl that won’t be damaged by heat. Warm your heavy cream in a small saucepan until it just begins to steam. Alternatively, you can heat your cream in the microwave until it’s very hot, just watch carefully so it doesn’t boil.
Pour the cream over the Nutella and let it sit for a few minutes, then mix with an electric mixer to combine. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. The ganache will most likely be too thin to spread between the cake layers so refrigerate it until it thickens enough to be spread-able–about 30 minutes should do it.
The frosting we’re using is a standard American buttercream, which is just butter or shortening, powdered sugar, and flavorings. AND SALT! Most frosting recipes call for salt, which might sound weird since ideally frosting is sweet.
But a small amount of salt added to sweets helps bring out the flavors in frosting (or whatever you’re making) so you can taste the Nutella or vanilla or chocolate or whatever else, rather than just tasting sugar.
Beat your butter until it’s smooth, add the Nutella, Frangelico (or vanilla), and salt and beat to combine. Then add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk and beat until it’s smooth. So easy!
Baker’s tip: you want your butter to be at room temperature when you make this frosting so it combines easily with the Nutella. Cut your butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and let it sit at room temp for 20 to 30 minutes. Room temp butter should give a bit when pressed with your finger, but not mush completely.
Assembling your chocolate Nutella cake
Because the ganache doesn’t get super-thick, you need to pipe a dam of Nutella buttercream around the cake layers before adding the filling (as pictured above). The buttercream holds a thick layer of filling in—without it, the filling would ooze from between the layers.
Top with the next cake layer and refrigerate 20 minutes to set the buttercream, then repeat the process.
Even if you don’t have piping bags and a large round tip, you can still make the cake. Spread the ganache over the cake without going all the way to the edge, and use only a very thin layer.
There you have it—a chocolate Nutella cake worthy of a celebration (a birthday perhaps?—hint hint for next year, Mom) or just a regular old Monday afternoon.
Even if you walk outside with cake smeared all over your face and your dog doesn’t bother to let you know, this chocolate Nutella cake is totally worth it. Promise.
A few more chocolate cake recipes (in case you’re hungry):
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Chocolate Nutella cake is a delicious dessert anyone who loves chocolate and hazelnut will go crazy for!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons Frangelico OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups warm coffee you can substitute flat cola
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup Nutella
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 5 to 8 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
- chopped hazelnuts for garnish if desired
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour. Set pans aside.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine the sugar, butter, and oil in a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Mix in the eggs and Frangelico (or vanilla).
Use a rubber spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then slowly add the coffee (or cola), mixing until just incorporated. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched gently with your finger.
Let cake layers cool in pans for 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the pans to cool completely on a wire rack before filling and frosting your cake.
Place the Nutella in a medium heat-proof bowl.
Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan set over medium heat until it just begins to steam. Pour the hot cream over the Nutella and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
Beat with an electric mixer set to low speed until combined, then turn mixer to medium and beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until fully combined. If your ganache is too thin to spread, refrigerate it for 20 to 30 minutes, until it thickens enough to spread.
Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the Nutella, Frangelico (or vanilla), and salt and beat for 1 minute more. Add 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, the cocoa powder, and 5 tablespoons of milk and mix on low just to combine.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix on medium until frosting is smooth. Adjust to desired consistency by adding milk if too thick or more powdered sugar if too thin.
Transfer about a cup of buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
Trim your cake layers if they’ve domed. Set one layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and pipe a circle of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
Spread half of the Nutella ganache filling into an even layer inside the circle. Top with a second cake layer and refrigerate for 20 minutes to set the frosting.
Remove from the fridge and pipe a layer of buttercream around the edge of the second cake layer. Fill with remaining ganache and top with the remaining cake layer. Return the cake to the fridge to set the frosting—you don’t want the cake to jiggle when you’re adding the final layer of frosting.
Remove cake from the fridge and frost with the remaining Nutella buttercream. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts if desired, then serve.
You want your butter to be at room temperature when you make this frosting so it combines easily with the Nutella. Cut your butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and let it sit at room temp for 20 to 30 minutes. Room temp butter should give a bit when pressed with your finger, but not mush completely.
If you don’t have piping bags and a large round tip to pipe a buttercream dam when you assemble your cake, you can still make the cake. Spread the ganache over the cake without going all the way to the edge, and use only a very thin layer.
Cake layers adapted from The New Best of Betterbaking.com